With it being thanksgiving we are often reminded or even soulfully persuaded to think of the things we are grateful for. This year however, could have become a year of ingratitude or bitterness given all the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges our family, especially Lilly has been faced with since her diagnosis. But, what would that gain us?
I believe we have a choice to make long before we ever face opposition that will attempt to sway us in believing that we are weak, inadequate, or even at fault. During my years at high school I had the enjoyable opportunity to assist special needs kids during seminary class. That year I learned so much from those amazingly kindhearted special kids. They taught me the value and importance of focusing on the abilities they have and not worrying about the things they can't change or control. Since that experience I often wondered how difficult it must have been as parents to watch their child go through life with all their limitations. But, I also thought of how much the family learned by helping their child work through their disabilities to find their many abilities.
As odd as this may sound, after that year I contemplated and questioned what kind of father I might be if I was to ever have a child with special needs. Would I be one that would be resentful towards God or feel that I was at fault for their situation? Or would I become the father that they needed me to become; supportive of everything, understanding, comforting and most important loving? Although I thought about what kind of person it takes to care for these special kids, in my heart I never thought that I would have such a child come into my life. Now, with those thoughts ever lingering in my mind for many years, I made the decision then that I would focus on the abilities that we are given and not on our disabilities or limitations.
So, today we would like to thank all those that have helped shed light on our families abilities or as we often call them, blessings. Thanks to all the Dr.'s, nurses, techs, family, friends, new friends, or even complete strangers that have shared their love and support. Whether it was through donations, 5K races, Mascots, hospital visits, food, caring for our dogs, cleaning our house, mowing the lawn, late night calls, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, ER visits, Clinic days, spinal tap recoveries, cleaning supplies, movie nights, words of courage, words of strength, stories of hope, or stories of success. To all of you that have helped us be true in our choice to focus on the positive, to keep our faith and our hope we express our deepest thanks. Without all of you, these burdens would be harder to bear alone.
This is how we spent our Thanksgiving, with great grandma and grandpa Wilkinson.
While the wonderful women were cooking a fabulous thanksgiving dinner the girls and I were painting pilgrim window panes. We improvised the aprons with garbage bags.